Seeking Advice

Your Family Doctor (GP)

Your Family Doctor will be able to diagnose and help treat your problem. He or she will be able to

  • tell you about your problem
  • advise you of the best treatment methods
  • prescribe you medications
  • and if necessary, refer you to Specialists (Consultants) for further treatment

You're likely to start by first seeing your family doctor or general practitioner. However, because sacroiliitis can be difficult to diagnose, you may be referred to a rheumatologist or an orthopaedic surgeon.

This condition is sometimes hard to diagnose because thick muscle tissue surrounds the sacroiliac joints, so their location deep in the muscles of your buttocks makes these joints hard to examine. What's worse is that the pain may be so severe that you can't or don't want to move much during the screening process, making it harder for your doctor to pinpoint the pain. Additionally, diagnosis is difficult because the signs and symptoms of sacroiliitis are similar to many other causes of low back pain.

Because appointments can be brief, it's a good idea to be well prepared for your appointment.

Bring along information about yourself

It can be a great help for your doctor if you bring along the following information about yourself

  • A list of your medications, including the name and dosage.
  • Information about your medical problems and past treatment
  • Previous investigation results, such as xrays and blood tests.

Prepare a list of questions for your doctor

  • Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you're scheduling your appointment. For example, people with sacroiliitis may have eye inflammation in addition to lower back pain.
  • Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes. Knowing that you were in a car accident or had a major fall recently could help your doctor make the diagnosis.
  • Write down any questions you have, because it can be hard to remember to ask everything.

Some basic questions to ask include:

  • What is the likely cause of my symptoms?
  • Are there any other possible causes for these symptoms?
  • What kinds of tests will I need?
  • What types of treatments are available for sacroiliitis?
  • What kinds of side effects does each type of medicine have?
  • Is there anything I can do on my own to help improve my symptoms?
  • Do I need to see a specialist?
  • How long will it take before I begin to feel better?

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor will likely ask you a number of questions, such as:

  • When did you first begin to experience symptoms?
  • Did anything unusual precede the pain, such as an illness, car accident or a fall?
  • Are your symptoms continuous, or do they come and go?
  • How severe is the pain?
  • Do any activities worsen your symptoms?
  • Does anything make you feel better?
  • Have you ever had problems taking any medications?

What you can do in the meantime

As you wait for your doctor's appointment, you can take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to ease your pain. However, if you have pre-existing cardiovascular disease, kidney disease or liver problems or have had gastrointestinal bleeding, check with your doctor before taking these medications.

13 June, 2010